Even Wrestling is Bigger in Texas #1

We have reached the final destination of the Wrestling Hot Spots countdown. No other state has had the massive impact that Texas has had on the wrestling business. Not only has the state produced a lot of wrestlers but they have produced the most impact players. Names like Tito Santana, Barry Windham and Tully Blanchard all hail from the Lone Star state and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

When we talk all time greats Texas is definitely not short on them. It would safe to say that at anybody’s top 10 there are at least 4 Texas wrestlers. Guys like The Undertaker, Shawn Micheals and Stone Cold Steve Austin are all proud Texans.The area has been home also to some of the most prominent wrestling promotions ever. Most notably World Class Championship Wrestling which was ran by Fritz Von Erich. The state has also hosted some of the biggest events in the history of the business.

Wrestling Is a Family Affair

When a Texas wrestling family says that its in their in blood they mean it. Professional wrestling has always had its fair share of families in the business but no other place has had as many big name families as the Lone Star state. Last names that have had generational impact in the business like Dibiase, Rhodes and Funk all started in Texas. Decided to list some of my favorite clans from the Longhorn state.

The Funk Family

Can not talk about Texas and wrestling without mentioning the Funk family. Dory Funk Sr, Dory Funk Jr and Terry Funk have made a major impact in the business. Terry and Dory Jr hold the distinction of being the only brothers who have both held the NWA World Heavyweight title. Terry was also big influence on hardcore wrestlers and was a big part of popularity of the original ECW. Dory Jr is a trainer and has trained such high profile stars like Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy and Edge.

Dusty Rhodes Talking Terry Funk

The Von Erichs

One of the most legendary families ever in the wrestling business were the Von Erichs. Headed by patriarch Fritz Von Erich they set Dallas,TX and the world on fire. Fritz was a legendary wrestler who also became a legendary promoter of World Class Championship Wrestling. His sons Kerry, Kevin and David were major stars of WCCW and were know world wide. WWE fans may be most familiar with Kerry who spent some time as the Texas Tornado and won the Intercontinental Championship.

The Guerrero Family

Although largely associated with Mexico the legendary Guerrero family was from El Paso, TX. This family is 3 generations deep in the business and helped bring the Lucha Libre style to the United States. Headed by the great Gory Guerrero who then ushered his four sons into the business. The Guerrero family has been apart of almost every major wrestling promotion. The most famous being the late Eddie Guerrero a former WWE Champion.

The Legend of West Texas State Football

The football team at West Texas State University has a surprising knack of turning out standout professional wrestlers. They maybe the school that has turned out the most NWA World Heavyweight Champions.

Famous Wrestlers from West Texas U Football
Dusty Rhodes
Tully Blanchard
Tito Santana
Bruiser Brody
Terry Funk
Ted Dibiase
Dory Funk Jr

Promo for Texas Legends Facing of at Wrestlemania
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Canada Takes #2 in Wrestling Hot Spots

On the list of wrestling hotspots we find ourselves spending time with our northern neighbors. Yes the wonderful country of Canada is the home of some of the greatest wrestlers that we have ever seen. Canada has brought us guys like Dino Bravo, Robert Roode and The Rogue Brothers.

The Hart of Canada

There is one clear and dominate wrestling family in Canada and that is the Harts. The Hart family is responsible for training some of the greatest starts that have ever been in wrestling in their famed Dungeon. Led by patriarch Stu Hart they set the standard for excellence in wrestling. The Dungeon has produced names like Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Superstar Billy Graham and Brian Pillman. But the most famous Hart graduates are probably Stu’s children. Bret and Owen Hart went on to become legends in wrestling business.
One of Stu’s greatest creations was his promotion Stampede Wrestling. It was the launching pad for The British Bulldogs(Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith) and The Hart Foundation(Bret Hart and Jim Niedhart). Wrestlers like Jake Roberts, Junkyard Dog and Abdullah The Butcher all have spent time in Hart’s promotion.

The Hart Family is still putting great wrestlers who are keeping the tradition of wrestling excellence alive. David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd and Natalya Niedhart all are currently on the WWE active roster and making waves in pro wrestling.

My Favorite Canadian Wrestler

Chris Jericho is one of the best wrestlers that I have ever seen. He has wrestled in ECW (the original), WCW and in the WWE. Winning championships everywhere he has been. He was worked with and fueded with some of the best of all time. Names like Eddie Guerrero, Rey Meysterio and Triple H are on the list for Jericho. Chris also maybe one of the top 5 in mic skills all time. His promos are cutting edge and can trade lines with any superstar in history. He also the lead singer of the band Fozzy who travels all over the world rocking and rolling.

Great Canadian Wrestlers
Ivan Koloff
Pat Patterson
Edge
Abdullah The Butcher
Mad Dog Vachon

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Atlanta Makes #3 on Wrestling Hotspots

In the tour of wrestling hot spots is the wonderful city of Atlanta, GA. The home of Coca Cola, UPS and CNN is also the home to great professional wrestling history. Places like the the Omni and Georgia Dome are forever embedded in our mind as places where legendary matches have happened. Atlanta was and still is one of the country’s great wrestling cities. Promotions such as Platinum Championship Wrestling and NWA Anarchy are thriving promotions in the area that are still bringing in crowds.

Fans of good old WTBS channel 17 remember Georgia Championship Wrestling as staple of 1970′s and 80′s wrestling. A NWA territory that was based out of Atlanta but ran shows throughout the entire state of Georgia. The TV show, hosted by the great Gordon Solie was recorded in one of WTBS’ studios at 1050 Techwood Drive, in midtown Atlanta. When the Superstation went on satellite in 1976, making the channel available to cable systems all across the United States, became the first NWA promotion to be broadcast nationally. The company had big time wrestlers like Ole Anderson, Stan Hansen and Killer Karl Kox.

In the early to mid 1980′s the promotion was owned by a group that included Jack and Jerry Brisco and Ole Anderson. In 1984 the Brisco brothers sold their stake in GCW to a promoter named Vince McMahon for 900,000 dollars and guaranteed jobs with the WWF. This move forever changed the landscape of professional wrestling.

July 14, 1984 is now known as Black Saturday in wrestling circles. Georgia Championship Wrestling ceased to exist when Vince McMahon bought the promotion and its TV time slot for his then-nationally expanding WWF.

You have to love WCW

The most famous promotion to ever run in the Atlanta area would have to World Championship Wrestling. WCW stands as the only promotion to ever compete toe to toe with the WWE.

Birthed out of Jim Crockett Promotions, WCW was a NWA terroritory before branching out as their own brand. Their run is mostly identified from 1985 until 2001 when purchased by the WWE. Running primarily out of Atlanta after 1988 when purchased by cable television mogul Ted Turner. Having some of the biggest names ever in wrestling such as the Road Warriors, The Four Horsemen and Dusty Rhodes, they built a juggernaut that was very hard to stop.

The most famous name probably associated with this era would have to be the Nature Boy Ric Flair (#2 on my list of all time greats). Flair was the last traveling NWA World Champion that defended the belt in different territories.

Ric Flair Promo

Putting on large pay per view events that could only be rivaled WWE. The birth ideas like Starrcade, The Great American Bash and Halloween Havoc became staples in the wrestling business.

On September 4th, 1995 one the biggest moves ever in the wrestling landscape was made. Under the leadership of Eric Bischoff, WCW launched Monday Night Nitro to rival the WWE’s Monday Night Raw. This is what started what is known in the wrestling world as the Monday Night Wars.

With bankroll of Ted Turner the company was able to acquire some of the top names in professional wrestling like Macho Man Randy Savage, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash. Also they brought in non in ring legends like Mean Gene Oakerland and Bobby The Brain Heenan. Combing this talent with names like Sting, Harlem Heat and The Steiner Brothers.

The most famous name that they brought in was the biggest name ever in wrestling. Bringing Hulk Hogan was the icing on the cake that made WCW a major power player on a national scale.

The Day That Changed Wrestling

Nitro had a very successful run in the late 1990′s. Aside from bringing in major names they introduced the Cruiserweight division that feature some of the best pure wrestlers in the world. Bischoff also employed some tactics that was frowned upon in the wrestling business like, at the opening of Nitro broadcasts giving away the results of Raw matches that were prerecorded.

WCW made their biggest splash of the era by introducing the NWO. The original members being Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan. What shook the wrestling landscape was the heel turn of Hulk Hogan. While both shows posted strong ratings WCW went on a long winning streak that lasted over 80 weeks over WWE.

As the company entered the new millennium WCW began to see a decline in their ratings and became not as profitable as once before.

Great Wrestlers from WCW/ Mid Atlantic Wrestling
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat
The Fabulous Freebirds
Rock N Roll Express
Midnight Express
Big Van Vader
Ron Simmons

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Japan Makes Honorable Mention

Had to break countdown with an honorable mention for wrestling hotspots. Japan is an incredible place for professional wrestling and could have easily made the the top 5 list and I am sure is on somebody’s countdown. The land of the rising sun has an incredible history and present in professional wrestling. Many superstars have fine tuned their skills in Japan. Names like Chris Jericho, Mick Foley and Brock Lesnar have all fine tuned their skills in Japan at one time or another.

Puroresu
(プロレス) is the popular term for the predominant style or genre of wrestling that originated in Japan. The is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of “professional wrestling” (プロフェッショナル・レスリング), which is shortened to puroresu (“purofesshonaru resuringu”).

Japan also produced its own great homegrown talent that have made names for themselves around the world. Names like The Great Muta, Jushin Liger and Kenta Kobashi have had success in the United States.

Japan has had a few promotions over the years that have thrived in Japan. Names like WAR, All Japan Pro Wrestling and Big Japan Wrestling are all names of promotions that have thrived in Japan. On of the popular and up and coming promotions is Dragon Gate. Japan based since 1999 Dragon Gate does over 250 shows a year in the land of the rising sun. It has also lent its name to Dragon Gate USA where both promotions thrive on a talent exchange of some of the best wrestlers in the world.

Welcome to New Japan Pro Wrestling
The largest and best know promotion in Japan is New Japan Pro Wrestling founded by the great Antonio Inoki in June of 1972. One thing that has heavily contributed to the popularity of the promotion is their openly engaging in working agreements with MMA promotions and other professional wrestling organizations from around the world. NJPW has worked with WCW, TNA and Ring of Honor just to name a few. NJPW's biggest event of the year is the Wrestlmania style show that is held at the Tokoyo Dome on January 4th. The event has been a staple of the promotion since 1992.

New Japan has been a place where many American wrestlers have been able to have successful runs. As a part of NJPW or in the cross promotion. Tag teams like The Steiners, The British Invasion and Team 3D(Dudley's) have all won tag team gold during cross promotional matches. Guys like Brock Lesnar and Big Van Vader have had success under New Japan banner.

The promotion has had several big cross promotional matches like Antonio Anoki taking on "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Also this year NJPW had their first tour of the United States where they introduced their new Intercontinental Championship, which was won by former WWE superstar MVP.

Tanashasi vs AJ Styles(TNA)

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#4 On Favorite Wrestling Spots is Minnesota

Number 4 in the series of best places for wrestling is the wonderful state of Minnesota. Depending on how you feel this one could easily be 1,2 or 3. The land of 10,000 lakes is the home of some of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. Names like Curt Henning, Rick Rude and Ric Flair are from the the great state of Minnesota.

Rude and Henning were both from Robinsdale, MN where they went to high school with five other future professional wrestlers. Barry Darsow (Smash from Demolition), Brady Boone, Tom Zenk (Z-Man), John Nord(The Berzerker), and Scott Simpson (Nikita Koloff).

Steeped in a deep legacy of amateur wrestling the state is very proud of its wrestling heritage. One of the greatest and most storied promotions in the history of professional wrestling was birthed in the Golden Gopher state.
The American Wrestling Association(AWA) ran out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Owned and founded by Verne Gagne and Wally Karbo. The territory was apart of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), becoming an independent territory in the late 1950s.

Gagne was a former amateur-wrestling champion who had earned a spot on the U.S. team at the 1948 Summer Olympics. Verne ran his organization with the foundation of technical wrestling and never was a big fan of the entertainment spin that some promoters were bringing into the business. In the 1970s, Gagne trained his newcomer wrestlers from his farm in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Those newcomers were names like Sgt. Slaughter, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Ken Patera(former Olympic Weightlifter).